Scott Harper, PhD

Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital / Ohio State University, Associate Professor / Principal Investigator

What is your current professional status?

Associate Professor / Principal Investigator

What is your work setting (i.e. academic institution, government organization, bio-industry/pharmaceutical company, etc.)?

Academic institution

What is your scientific area of research?

Neuromuscular disease, RNAi-based gene therapy

Why do you want to be a mentor?

I grew up personally and professionally within ASGCT, having attended my first meeting as a graduate student in 2001 (when the Society was still called the ASGT). My primary research advisers as a PhD student and post-doc were outstanding mentors, but I also benefited from connections I made in the ASGCT. Some of these relationships have carried throughout my career. So maybe I'd have some insight to provide, and if so then one of the reasons I want to be a mentor is to have the opportunity give back and pass along some experience to the next generation of scientists in our field. I think it's important to string together generational ties to maintain a vibrant scientific community.

As a mentor, what are you hoping to gain from this experience?

I don't feel that old - having been on the job search for my faculty position just about 12 years ago - but in that time, I think the climate in science, and especially gene and cell therapy, has changed quite a bit. I hope to meet some of the newer members of the Society and hear about the concerns, aspirations, and expectations that younger scientists have today as they're working to advance their careers. I hope maybe I can provide a little insight from my own experiences, having gone through the process in the relatively recent past. If not, then at least I'll have had a chance to connect with the next generation of scientists in our field.

How important are the following in the selection of a mentee: (1 – 5 scale, 1 = most important, 5 = least important)

  • Compatibility of Scientific Specialties: 3
  • Geographic Location: 5
  • Professional Status / Success: 5
  • Compatibility of Career Path: 1
  • Communication Style: 2

Please provide a biography that describes who you are and what you do in the field of gene and/or cell therapy:

I am a molecular biologist with 20 years of experience in the gene therapy field. I am currently an Associate Professor at The Ohio State University and Principal Investigator in the Center for Gene Therapy at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. My lab is primarily focused on RNAi-based gene therapies for neuromuscular diseases, including dominant muscular dystrophies and peripheral neuropathies. I came from working class roots, started a family young (during grad school), and struggled with many issues outside the lab that I suspect many people face: work/life balance, financial issues, uncertainty about job prospects and questioning if the long-haul training path would ever pay off. For folks facing similar issues, perhaps I might have some perspective to offer.

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23rd Annual Meeting

May 12-15 | Boston